There are some times that patients need to get a sinus lift. They are often done before a dental implant so that there is enough bone to support the implant. Dental implants are getting more and more common, and that has made sinus lifts grow in popularity among patients. It is one of the ways that the bone can be made denser before an implant is done. If you are missing a tooth and are interested in getting a dental implant, you may be a good candidate for having a sinus lift in order to get your mouth prepared for the implant.
The Sinus Lift
When a patient is missing a tooth, especially when the tooth has been gone for a long time, the bone that once supported the tooth can start to deteriorate. This is a normal effect that happens to many people. Some patients also have periodontitis or other damaging conditions that can lead to the bone deteriorating. Whatever the cause of the missing bone, it’s important to build it back up before you can get an implant to replace your missing tooth. A dental implant is implanted directly into the bone of the jaw to keep it strongly anchored and permanent.
One of the ways to replace the bone that has been lost on the upper jaw is a sinus lift. While some people get a bone graft to increase the amount of bone there, many patients get a sinus lift to do the same. It is particularly helpful to patients who have sinuses that are located too close to the upper jaw to allow for the support of an implant. Sometimes, if there is enough bone in between the bottom part of the sinus and the upper jaw ridge, the sinus lift and the implant can be done at the same time. In most cases, however, they are separate procedures.
During a sinus lift, the sinus membrane is lifted upwards to change its position. The procedure gives you more bone in the area of your upper jaw in between your premolars and molars. Once this procedure is done, the bone in that area will be stronger and denser. This is also called a sinus augmentation.
Getting Your Sinus Lift Surgery
There are several steps to getting a sinus lift performed. Because bone is added during the procedure, the doctor has to first source the bone that will be used. Often, it is from a source outside the body, but it may also be bone that is taken from elsewhere in your body. Before the surgery, you will need to have X-rays taken. These will help the doctor to look at your sinuses and upper jaw so that it can be determined exactly what you need to have done.
Then, the sinus lift surgery is scheduled. When it’s time for the surgery, you will have the type of anesthesia that you need to stay comfortable. For some patients, this is only local anesthetics. For others, it is full sedation so that you are asleep during the procedure. Be sure to talk to the doctor about the type of anesthetic that will be right for you. If you get full sedation, you will need a driver to take you home afterward. During the procedure, the doctor will go into the gum tissue and cut a circle into the bone that’s there. Then, the doctor removes that bone and lifts it so that it is in the sinus cavity. Then, the hole left behind is filled in with the bone graft substance- the bone that is from either inside or outside the body. Then, the incision is closed, and the patient can start to heal from the procedure.
Usually, the doctor will allow your sinus lift to heal for anywhere from four months to a year before the implant is placed. During this healing time, the new bone will be able to merge with the bone that was already there. The amount of helping time that you need often has to do with how much bone was added during the procedure. Your doctor will tell you how long to wait before you can get your dental implant.
After Your Sinus Lift
Many patients have some discomfort after the surgery, and the area may swell. Sometimes, there is a little bleeding from the mouth or nose for the first few days after the surgery. If you blow your nose or sneeze during these days, it can loosen up the stitches that are in place. It’s important to be careful during this period so that the area can heal as quickly as possible.
The doctor may provide you with a saline spray that you can use to moisten your nose. You might also get a prescription that will help with the inflammation and prevent any congestion. It’s also common to get prescriptions for antibiotics, pain medication, and an antimicrobial mouthwash to kill germs and prevent the area from getting infected. There will be a follow-up appointment after about a week to 10 days to check the surgical site. At that time, if there are many stitches that haven’t already dissolved, they will be removed by the doctor. There may be other follow-up appointments made as well.